I think there are several ways in which GamerGate has been very positive in regards to feminism, which you’ve missed due to not focusing on the big picture.
(I personally don’t think GG is really about feminism or SJW, and that it’s more nuanced than corruption in gaming journalism, but that is not why I’m writing this email. Just wanted to get it out of the way.)
I think that GG has been positive in that area, in that it gave many people who previously felt that they were ignored, or who were even afraid to speak up, an opportunity to vent. They have experienced a constant bombardment over the course of last several years by the things they did not care about, and did not agree with. The opposition, the MRA’s, were and still are heavily stigmatized. And that’s only in gaming media. Beyond gaming, for many years now, there has been constant pressure from the SJW side, from its focus on rape culture, to all the other crap it engaged in. (I honestly don’t follow it.) It doesn’t matter for the point I’m making whether it’s been legitimate complaints or not, and I’m probably not the best informed person to debate this anyway. What does matter through, is the perception of that pressure by the masses.
And their perception has been that it’s grating, that it’s self-serving, that it is censorship, deceitful, engaging in professional victimization, and so on. (I feel like I am wasting mine and your own time writing this, because of how obvious the things I am writing of are.) And the perception has also been that there were only a few people brave enough to stand up against it, and that standing up to it yourself was a scary thing to do. Either that, or that you can stand up to it all you want, but it wouldn’t matter at all, because all the media will run the SJW line anyway.
It doesn’t matter if any of those perceptions are true or not, but that is some bad marketing by the feminists. And that climate was really not conductive to a discussion. Or at least, it was not conductive to a discussion that mattered. You can speak gospel in your feminist circles, but if the masses (Marxist terminology yo!) feel alienated from you, it doesn’t amount to anything good.
Now, with the GamerGate, those people who have de facto felt oppressed, feel that they have an opportunity to speak up. A feminist has been exposed as a hypocrite. Another feminist, widely regarded as a con artist, has been found corrupt; and now you are suddenly able to speak your mind without being outnumbered all to one by internet harassment militia. It is GOOD. It is good that people vent. And this can turn into absolute shit; the movement can become mired and stigmatized, but on its own? It is GOOD that people vent.
When you’ve been living for many years quietly seething in anger, you are not going to find sincerity if you keep that anger bottled up. You don’t get punched in the face for many years and then shake hands. Of course, there are many civil rights movements that have managed just that, with much success. (Albeit there probably was and still is much resentment in the hearts of some.) However, I would argue that that is a false equivalency.
For starters, what is at stake? For all my comparisons, peoples and their children’s lives are not at stake over this. Therefore, there’s less of an onus to sacrifice “honor” and pride to reach a better tomorrow.
Secondly, it is an internet movement. For an internet movement, I thought it is actually pretty civil. Maybe you know more about this than I, but is it really fair to blame an internet movement for accidental dog-piling, or for someone accusing someone 30 minutes after verification of innocence? Some people are just slow or inattentive. I mean, again, maybe you know more about this than I, but what exactly was the best-case realistically achievable scenario? I think what we got is pretty close.
And thirdly, there is not a clear goal, or rather, there is no clear path on how to reach a goal. And that is not the fault of the movement. That is the fault of the medium. When you’ve got a clear law to pass, or a clear government to overthrow, you can rally people to do a specific set of actions in almost perfect unison. How the fuck do you conform people to a specific set of actions, if you don’t have a dragon to slay nor a maiden to save? (Maiden being the first underlined point.)
So with all that said, I feel like there is a chance to create a better foundation for discourse and understanding if people feel that they are free to speak. And that leads me on to my next point.
The other thing I wanted to say, is that really, the feminism has been stuck in somewhat of an echo-chamber. You are no doubt much closer to this than I, so maybe as an outsider I am getting a completely different picture, but if you engage in reductive labeling against people who disagree with you, and alienate everyone not involved with your club, your worldview is going to be… lacking. There are many common and reasonable concerns that I see time and time again raised against the feminist statements, and it feels like you guys are not really receiving the feedback.
For example, in some study that you linked in the last couple days, there was an assessment of how being exposes to pictures of gaming content affected the participants view of rape. And the obvious problem with that study is that: Why the fuck should pictures of a game be of use for anything, when the whole point of playing a video game is to experience it in motion and to control the inputs? There were several other glaring problems for which I would laugh whoever conducted the study out of the room, but the thing is that that specific criticism I put down has been present in… the majority of studies dealing with videogames that I’ve been linked to? I don’t keep track.
The problem is that feminists are trying to judge a hobby without being a part of a hobby, or trying to understand a hobby. Anita Sarkeesian judging video games without ever playing them should have been regarded as illiterate. Not malign, not preachy, just illiterate. And you can’t be taken seriously if you do this criticism without any communication with the people in the hobby. They may no be as educated, and their collective intelligence may border that of amoeba, but they know things that you don’t.
And do you know why I’m speaking so authoritatively that you haven’t been communicating? Why I seem so convinced of it? Because you were surprised at the responses you were getting for the survey. Because the opinions and arguments that many had were news to you. You were surprised that Sarkeesian was thought of as radical? Others were surprised (Okay, surprise may be a strong word considering how little modern feminism is respected) that you (collective you) did not consider her trash. That the voices of a mass of people are reaching you, (collective you) maybe be a good thing that will allow feminism to maybe try to dialogue instead of just preach.